IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys hired former Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as the replacement for Rob Ryan on Friday.
The move signals a switch back to the 4-3 alignment eight years after Bill Parcells implemented the 3-4.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett said he had two days of discussions with the 72-year-old Kiffin and came away believing the Cowboys have the personnel to make the switch work.
The most notable change will be Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware becoming a defensive end, and Anthony Spencer could make the same move if the Cowboys re-sign him.
"Monte Kiffin's level of experience and track record of success as an NFL defensive coordinator are unmatched," Garrett said. "He has produced NFL defensive units that have consistently performed at a high level in a scheme that has stood the test of time."
Kiffin hasn't coached in the NFL since ending a 13-year run in Tampa in 2008. He spent the past four years coaching in college with his son, Lane Kiffin, at Tennessee and Southern California.
At Tampa, Kiffin's defenses frequently were among the league's best, and the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl with him after the 2002 season. That unit was the first in the league since the champion Chicago Bears in 1985 to lead the NFL in total defense, points allowed and interceptions.
"I came away from the interview process with Jason with a feeling that Dallas is the right place to be," Kiffin said. "They're close, and I am confident that there are quality pieces in place for us to be able to get the job done."